Stone 08.08.08 Vertical Epic Ale | Stone Brewing

BA SCORE
89
very good
897 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
Stone 08.08.08 Vertical Epic AleStone 08.08.08 Vertical Epic Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Stone Brewing
California, United States
stonebrewing.com

Style: Belgian IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.60%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
The Stone 08.08.08 Vertical Epic Ale is a Strong Golden Belgian style ale highly hopped with American hops (Ahtanum, Amarillo and Simcoe). The beer pours pale golden with a thick and creamy white head of foam. The aroma is full of depth: nuances of pepper, clove, and banana from the Belgian yeast strain, and the resiny citrus notes from the American hops blend together nicely to provide a complex aromatic character. The taste is spicy, hoppy and fruity, with a very dry and a pleasant bitter end. The bitterness lingers nicely, and provides a refreshing finish that leads you to want to drink more and more of this beer!

Added by froghop on 08-04-2008

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

BEER STATS
Ratings:
897
Reviews:
497
Avg:
3.98
pDev:
10.55%
 
 
Wants:
44
Gots:
255
For Trade:
14
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 897 |  Reviews: 497
Photo of WOLFGANG
3.5/5  rDev -12.1%

Photo of billab914
3.5/5  rDev -12.1%

Photo of 2beerdogs
3.5/5  rDev -12.1%

Photo of ADTaber
3.5/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of BeerOps
3.5/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Photo of GrindFatherBob
3.5/5  rDev -12.1%

Photo of craftaholic
3.51/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Definitely not fresh but it sure is interesting. The hops are non-existant but there is a strong honey, floral, mint freshness to it.

133 characters

Photo of Pahn
3.51/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a bottle of this at Whole Foods at Union Square, NYC. Apparently, they ordered Vertical Epic and got sent the '08 instead of the '09 for some reason. There's probably still a few there if you're in the Manhattan area and missed this beer last year.

Anyway, 22oz bottle poured into a tulip.

Appearance: 1 inch head after a rather aggressive pour (was barely 1/2 inch at first careful try). Sparse horizontal streaks of lacing remain throughout. Pours a bright, lightish amber with numerous rising bubbles.

Smell: Sweet Belgian yeast and a strong citrus scent that's disturbingly reminiscent of orange soda.

Taste: The dominant flavor is apple, with some unexpectedly mild hops (knowing Stone and reading the "Here's a Belgian golden ale but aggressively hopped!" boast on the label, I expected a much stronger hop showing). Mild though they are, the hops do provide a nice bite at the start that at least differentiates this beer from a saison or usual strong golden ale. Unfortunately, the flavor is closer to the former than the latter, which is also unexpected.

The flavor is nice, but a little one note. While some complexity does indeed make itself known, it's rarely present in the same sip. I got the apple throughout and a little citrus was also steady, while there were more occasional notes of butterscotch. The finish often was a bit soapy. There's a strong sweetness throughout, but it was a lot more garish than what you generally get from a quality strong golden ale. There's also the hint of a flavor I can't name but that I associate with many of Stone's brews (particularly Arrogant Bastard and Oaked Arrogant Bastard). Near the end I strangely detected a smokiness, which was actually quite pleasant--if it was there the whole time, this review would probably be glowing, to be honest.

Mouthfeel: Pretty good. Despite the hop bite, the feel is very creamy and nicely carbonated. My only complaint would be that the finish gets a bit sticky.

Drinkability: While the alcohol (which I found warming and went to my head rather quickly) is not very masked, the lightness of the flavor coupled with the, on the whole, great mouthfeel makes this a very refreshing golden ale. I wouldn't want more than a bottle, but it's more drinkable than the average 8+% beer.

---

In all, I was rather unimpressed by this beer. However, I expected quite a lot from it; I'm a big fan of extremely hopped beer, a bigger fan of Belgian tripels, and a lover of numerous Stone offerings. While the flavor of this beer is decent, in my opinion it was too mild for what it was intended to be, and had a few too many small flaws to work exceptionally well as something other than a hopped up golden ale. It's by no means a bad beer; if it were the first Stone brew I'd had, or the first Belgian/California mashup I'd had, I'd be impressed. However, if I were at the store now and I saw another bottle of 08.08.08 standing next to Stone's Cali-Belgique or a bottle of Houblon Chouffe, I'd pick up either of the latter any day.

As a final note, while I may be speaking beyond my beer knowledge, I can't really see how this beer would benefit from aging. The flavor could round out a bit, and the alcohol could mellow, but the beer is already too mellow as it is. Then again, I'd guess that the guys at Stone know more about how long to age a beer than I do.

 3,368 characters

Photo of jwc215
3.52/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a tulip glass:

Pours golden with a thin white head that descends to a swirly patch. Some lacing sticks.

The smell is of pine and citrus - American hops, for sure - with lemon and bread. The spiciness is herbal and black peppery.

Very hoppy - a good thing - pine and citrus - with black pepper that almost dominates. Some orange and graininess come through. It has a dry, almost chalky, finish. Alcohol comes through a bit.

It has a medium body with a tingle that may come from carbonation as well as spiciness.

A sipper as the pepper character is a bit much. Interesting use of American hops in a Belgian-style brew. It "works", but could blend better.

 669 characters

Photo of Vivs85
3.52/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Ihadbeer
3.52/5  rDev -11.6%

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.52/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sampled August 2008
Pours into my 25cl tulip glass with a frothy, initially three-finger thick, pale, off-white colored head. The beer is a brilliantly clear, copper hue as it sits in my glass but shows a brilliant, bright gold color when held up to the light. The aroma has an expressively fruity, sort of children's aspirin like aroma to it that is magnified by a substantial sweetness. Weird is all I can really say, and not necessarily bad. Other aromas of juicy fruit gum, grassy grain, clean tropical fruit, ripe peach, just a hint of an herbal note, some phenolic clove. I think it is that there is a slight medicinal note in the aroma along with the clove phenolics and these, combined with how incredibly clean the hop character is (is it filtering that made the fruity hop aromas so clean?) is what gives this a children' aspirin aroma.

Tastes like bubble gum with the juicy, fruity hop notes and a clean, almost cotton candy like sweetness. This is actually surprisingly sweet tasting given the terminal gravity; I think that the fruity hop flavors tend to accentuate what sweetness is here and the fact that the fermentation profile is so clean means that the noticed alcohol note also seems to contribute to the perceived sweetness. Some phenolics and a spiciness contribute a touch of spiciness towards the finish that seems a bit turpene like and definitely has an expressive clove flavor to it. The hops contribute flavors of tropical fruit, lychee, ripe peach, and when combined with the perceived sweetness, some notes of honey-suckle are evident. While the hop character is quite dominant, there is, especially as this beer warms, a significant phenolic character to this beer, especially in the finish.

Despite being perceived as sweet this does have a nice, light body for a beer of this strength; I wouldn't call it a quaffing brew, but it does have a nice drinkability to it. It could use a bit more carbonation as I typically like my strong Golden Belgian'ish beers to be lively, though the lightish carbonation here really doesn't detract too much.

This is somehow incredibly clean, despite the noticeable fermentation character and hop notes; the malt seems almost naked somehow as it is lacking that chewy, grain note that I like to find in a good, pale, Belgian ale. This is still a good beer, it just seems to be a bit too filtered (even if it wasn't caused by the actual filtering process). I do like how this beer works as a whole, the entire experience is a bit more than a sum of its parts.

Purchased: Plaza Liquors, Tucson AZ

 2,563 characters

Photo of bobhits
3.52/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A. pale and fairly thin. The head comes up and goes away pretty quickly. Fizzy yellow beer?

S. Hops. No...Belgium yeast. No, some sweet malt and alcohol? Ok this beer is like a good pitcher, it keeps throwing me different signals.

T. I thought the smell was weird. Wow, first taste it's stone IPA, but with something a bit off in the back ground. Second taste, it's a Belgium triple (only not terrible like most Belgium beers). This beer honestly played with my mouth all night long. Flavors from banana, piny hops, to who knows what. This is one of the most complex and varied beers I've ever had. I still don't feel like I can make heads of tales of this.

M. Thin, but with some spices which as they warm seem to slow down the consumption of it. A good bite from the carbonation, but still overall a bit on the thin side.

D. See above. It's drinkable, not a sipper, but not a session. It's a beer that starts off and finishes differently.

I might edit my review 20 times if I drink this beer 20 times, but either way for those that don't like belgiums this is worth giving a shot. If you don't like IPA's give this a shot. If you don't like either...well just avoid it.

8/27/10 update

No change to the score. Just tasting notes a bit over 2 years in.

The stone IPA with belgium characteristics is gone. This a belgium with some american hop pretense. It's dry finishing as hell and dominated by the yeast flavors. I'll be interested to see how the hop flavors work in this in a few years once the final hop bite is completely gone and only the fruity flavors remain. It almost has a white grape flavor with a campaign like carbonation. Good? Well...I'm not loving this beer, but I'm fascinated by it.

 1,711 characters

Photo of JRed
3.52/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear orange in color with thin white head that fades. Aroma of candy oranges, cotton candy, apples, grass, citrus. Tastes of citrus, bobbing for apples in booze, grass, mint, watermelon, and bitterness. Medium bodied with medium carbonation.

 242 characters

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.53/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a deep golden color ale with a big pure white foamy head with good retention and good lacing. Aroma of dry hops with some sweet malty notes also noticeable. Taste is also dominated by some sweet malt with light hoppy notes. Body is average with some good carbonation and no detectable alcohol. I thought this tasted like a dumb-down Duvel without any of the complex yeast ester and the great hoppy finish. I can't see this improving over four years thought.

 472 characters

Photo of srandycarter
3.53/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Light honey, not much head, leaves ring. Small sudsy lacing.

S - Smells REALLY sweet, honey, malty.

T - Taste does not match smell. Part are true, but massacred by teh hops. Way too bitter.

M - Medium, good coat and carb.

D - NOt my favorite. Your mileage may vary.

 273 characters

Photo of MbpBugeye
3.53/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a chalice.
A- Almost no head and what did appear was gone before I knew it. 08.08.08 is a golden, semi clear beer.

S- The nose is somewhat weak in my case. Im getting some apple juiciness, slight pineness from hops and a citrus rind bitter sweetness.

T- Similar to the smell. Apple, citrus rind, piney hops. The suspended yeast lends some doughy, bready malt notes.

M- Thin at times, but mostly its a medium body over all.

D- Drinks quite well, nothing unappealing or out of line here. A solid brew.

This is a quite balanced brew, as the Belgians do best. The term IPA is somewhat deceiving, all though this is a lot hoppier than most Belgian styles.

 670 characters

Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.53/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed on 8/30/08. Bottle. Pours a light orange with a small white head. Aroma is pretty much that of a Belgian tripel! Lots of spices, melon rind, and a slight bitterness. Flavor is a bit more hoppy than apparent in the aroma (although not overly so), fruity melon, and orange peel. Mouthfeel isn't as hearty as that of a tripel although the beer does weigh on you after awhile. Interesting at first but then a little boring. Better than the 070707 but not by much.
7/4/7/4/14 (3.6/5)

 487 characters

Photo of mrasskicktastic
3.53/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

A - An hazy orange-amber brew with a ton of carbonation and a sizable foamy head. Thick clumps of lacing cling in discordant rings all down the sides of the glass.

S - A sweet malt and aromatic floral (lilies) hops - obvious at first whiff that this is a Belgian strong pale ale.

T - Initially a burst of intense floral (lilies) hops with a bit of sweetness and a warming alcohol feel. Then it progresses to a biscuity aspect coupled with a lingering floral hop that shifts into a mild bitter floral hop flavor.

M - A little harsh, thick, and not very refreshing.

D - A little intense and strong. Fortunately, I see almost no reason to place much weight on the drinkability of this release.

 695 characters

Photo of Cavery
3.55/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml poured into Nonic shared with Klym and SundaySour

A: Light amber with a slightly higher opacity. Two finger head with some stubbornly sticky lacing. There's some consistent belgian yeast fog, but nothing abnormal. All in all a good looking beer.

S: Yeasty earthiness, with a suggestion of apple and pair skins. The alcohol creeps up behind a late berry note. There's a really sweet and sugary brioche bread note in there.

T: Right up front I taste a young beer. Not a hotness worth complaining about, but enough heat to make it stick out for the style. That said, the beer is super clean. Light hops with no burn, and sweet yellow raisins sit atop some sweeter bread malts. Not much else, but I reiterate: very clean.

M: The mouth is a bit dead, the carbonation feels unexpectedly low. This most certainly is not intended. as it's lower carbonation borders on flatness. Definitely the ugly duckling of this beers more prominent characteristics.

O: The beer isn't ripe yet. The recommended 12/12/12 opening seems like a decent prediction of maturity. Nostradamus would approve. However, I worry about the mouth. Some more carbonation would greatly improve the balance of 08/08/08.

 1,191 characters

Photo of Nat1975
3.55/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of JEdmund
3.55/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance
Golden yellow like a pils but with a small head; good carbonation

Smell
Belgian yeast fruitiness dominates here; not hoppy like I expected; some mild hint of spearamint

Taste & Mouthfeel
Not nearly a 50/50 split of triple and IPA; initially, I get all Belgian flavors--fruity yeast, a lot of bready malt; hops come in later with a minty quality, but is still mild; would like a LOT more hops in this one; some heat in the finish; some nice bitterness in finish later on

Overall
A bit disappointing as there's just not enough hops for me; it just doesn't come to close to the "very, very generously hopped" as described on the bottle. Maybe I didn't drink it fresh enough? Otherwise a very tasty beer. Hopefully this will be a good one for aging.

 762 characters

Photo of LoRezDave
3.55/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This beer was sampled from a 22oz bomber - not sure where I got it.

Appearance: With a medium-to-hard pour I get a big 3 fingers of head. White, fluffy, bubbles. Nice golden color not completely clear - haze does not clear as it warms.

Aroma: bubble gum and band aids, ripe pear and banana

Taste: more bubble gum, sweet rich carmely Belgian sugars, white pepper on finish.

Mouthfeel: crisp and a bit boozy.

Good, not great, will probably be better in year or two when the edge is off it.

 492 characters

Photo of turboedtwo
3.55/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours with some lacing on the sides of the glass, very golden in color. Smells sweet and piney. Tastes mildly of hops and some yeast before moving on to almost a BMC aftertaste. I hate to say that too. Feels light and crisp on the tongue. Drinks easy, it's light and refreshing.

 278 characters

Photo of thagr81us
3.56/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served from tap into a tulip. Poured a golden yellow-orange with a two finger white head that subsided to one finger slowly. Maintained decent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, fruit, spice, banana, caramel, and fruit hop. The flavor was of sweet malt, caramel, earth, spice, fruit, fruit hop, and subtle citrus hop. It had a light feel on the palate with high carbonation. Overall this was a decent brew. Unfortunately not a whole lot on this one really stood out above some other decent brews I’ve had from the style. I really hated to see that this was the case as most of the beers from this series that I have had have been rather good. While this one wasn’t bad by any means, it just fell short of my expectations. The caramel was definitely the off-putting aspect that I picked up on that I did not enjoy very much. The rest of the beer was pretty good however. Worth your time trying if you get the chance, but there are better ones out there in the series.

 1,003 characters

Stone 08.08.08 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing
3.98 out of 5 based on 897 ratings.
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.